A new and highly redacted document released Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveals that former British spy Christopher Steele, the man behind the unverified and controversial dossier, wrote an additional memo regarding alleged Russian collusion with President Donald Trump but that the information was largely based on information provided by allies of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, sent a criminal referral regarding Steele’s involvement in the dossier to the Department of Justice referral January 4. The criminal referral confirms that allies of Clinton and the Obama administration were providing Steele with what they deemed damaging information on then candidate-elect Trump. The Senate Judiciary Committee spent more than a month in talks with the DOJ about what parts of the referral, which was classified Top Secret, should be redacted from the document before it became public.
“One memorandum by Mr. Steele that was not published by Buzzfeed is dated October 19, 2016. The report alleges (redacted), as well as (redacted). Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company “received this report from (redacted) U.S. State Department,” that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who ‘is in touch with (redacted) US State Department,’ that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a sub-source who ‘is in touch with (redacted), a contact of (redacted) of (redacted) a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to (redacted).”
“It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility,” the criminal referral states.
In the document, Grassley and Graham noted that “there is substantial evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele materially misled the FBI about a key aspect of his dossier efforts, one which bears on his credibility.”
The pair of lawmakers also allege that Steele was compiling information on Trump and his campaign before being hired by now embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign for his work.
“Pursuant to that business arrangement, Mr. Steele prepared a series of documents styled as intelligence reports, some of which were later compiled into a ‘dossier’ and published by Buzzfeed in January 2017,” the referral states. “On the face of the dossier, it appears that Mr. Steele gathered much of his information from Russian government sources inside Russia.”
According to several U.S. Officials who spoke to this reporter, Cody Shearer, a former journalist and close ally of Hillary and Bill Clinton, was closely connected to Steele and shared information with the former spy. Shearer worked in the 90s for President Bill Clinton.
Steele, whose prior work with British intelligence gave him access to U.S. intelligence and State Department officials, also appeared to be in contact with Jonathan Winer, a current State Department official who also worked under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Winer is the “State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya and Senior Advisor for MEK resettlement,” according to the State Department website.
Another connection to the second dossier, according to several sources who spoke to this reporter, is close friend and advisor to Hillary Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal. As reported several weeks ago, Blumenthal’s connection to the dossier still remains somewhat of a mystery but according to several sources he allegedly was one source that Steele used to verify certain aspects of his dossier.
Department of Justice officials declined to comment on Blumenthal or the dossier.
FBI officials also declined to comment.
Blumenthal did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Blumenthal worked as a White House aide for Bill Clinton, and later worked with the Clinton Foundation after being denied a role by Obama Administration officials with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to reports. Politico revealed that Blumenthal was being paid $10,000 a month by the Clinton Foundation.
In 2015, emails released by the State Department showed the extensive and ongoing working relationship between Clinton and Blumenthal. The emails also revealed that then-Secretary of State Clinton would seek Blumenthal’s advice on Libya, according to the emails. Blumenthal regularly sent Hillary Clinton “vaguely sourced” “intelligence cable style” briefings while she was Secretary of State.
The Guardian was the first to publish Shearers’ involvement with what is being described as a second anti-Trump dossier.
Grassley and Graham filed the criminal referral on Steele after comparing information given to the committee from the FBI to Steele’s own statements.
“As explained in greater detail below, when information in those classified documents is evaluated in light of sworn statements by Mr. Steele in British litigation, it appears that either Mr. Steele lied to the FBI or the British court, or that the classified documents reviewed by the Committee contain materially false statements,” the criminal referral states.